Content Detail

Alpine currant (Ribes alpinum) is a hardy, low mounded shrub commonly used as a hedge. Plants are tolerant of full sun to full shade. Very low maintenance with little ornamental appeal other than its dense green foliage.

  • Family (English) Gooseberry
  • Family (botanic) Grossulariaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Medium shrub (5-8 feet), Small shrub (3-5 feet)
  • Light exposure Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily), Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 2, Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Chicago), Zone 6, Zone 7
  • Soil preference Alkaline soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Clay soil, Occasional drought, Road salt
  • Season of interest early summer, late summer, midsummer
  • Flower color and fragrance Inconspicuous
  • Shape or form Mounded, Round
  • Growth rate Moderate

Size & form:

A rounded twiggy deciduous shrub reaching 3 to 6 feet high and 6 to 7 feet wide, Alpine currant is often used as an informal hedge.

Native geographic location and habitat:

This shrub is native to Europe and Russia.

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife:

Birds and butterflies are attracted to this.

Bark color and texture:

Light gray-brown to tan, the older stems exfoliate.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

Leaves are alternate, ovate with 3 to 5 lobes, and 1 to 2 inches long

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Dioecious, this shrub has separate male and female plants. The flowers are Insignificant and a greenish-yellow color.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Fruits develop on female plants only.  They are a  scarlet, juicy berry.

Plant care: 

Place Alpine currant in full sun to full shade in moist well-drained soils, but adaptable to soil pH, clay, compacted, dry soils. The Alpine currant responds well to pruning and can be sheared. It is very winter hardy and is resistant to clay, drought, dry soil, wind, alkaline soil, and rabbits

Disease, pests, and problems: 

Alpine currant is susceptible to leaf spots, aphids, scale, rust and anthracnose.

Green Mound Alpine Currant (Ribes alpinum ‘Green Mound’):

This is a male form, growing 2 to 3 feet high and wide.

Dwarf Alpine Currant (Ribes alpinum ‘Pumilum’):

Similar to Green Mound, this cultivar is male and 2 to 3 feet high.

Green Jeans™  Alpine Currant (Ribes alpinum ‘Spreg’):

A female cultivar, this shrub grows 3 to 5 feet high and has wide, glossy dark green foliage.

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